It won’t surprise you to learn that most members join an organization as a student, recent grad, or early careerist. A recent Community Brands study found that about one-third of members join a professional organization before they start working. More than 41 percent participate in their first five years of employment.
Attracting and retaining a larger percentage of this new generation of members is a hot button issue for many member-based organizations. That was the topic of a recent webinar given by Tara Pawlak, Director of Marketing from YM Careers, and Daniela Bernal, Communications and Membership Manager from Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
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They discussed what attracts new users to professional associations and the acquisition strategies that worked for SACNAS. New members are enticed by opportunities for employment, certifications/learning, and professional growth. SACNAS was able to poll their target audience and implement programs to foster the achievement of advanced degrees, career growth, and STEM leadership positions for their members.
How did SACNAS accomplish this feat? By implementing a year-round Opportunities Board for their student enrollees. The board hosts research programs, graduate school programs, scholarships, and internship opportunities. Students can also join or start local chapters and apply for tailored programs specific to their immediate needs, such as presenting research, travel scholarships, and in-person events.
SACNAS increased the number of students to professional members by 50% by introducing new incentives. The incentive they offered was a free upgrade to any recent graduates that submitted their grad photo. The overwhelming success in converting graduate students to professional members can be linked to their consistency and awareness strategy.
SACNAS advertises its Career Center and Opportunities Board at every opening, including through its SACNAS.org homepage. This increased exposure and seamless user experience gave younger members an intuitive transition from student life to professional members. The SACNAS Career Center also offers valuable member benefits, such as resume critiques, new jobs emailed, career articles, and access to career coaches.
The increase of new graduate enrollment prompted SACNAS to organize an employer engagement initiative. The association focused on increasing resume uploads with a well-crafted Resume Sweepstakes that ran twice leading up to the annual conference. The result was a 103% increase in resume uploads and 1,509% more resume views.
SACNAS further communicated the benefits for members, by include a recruitment guide at their annual conference. The guide clearly resonated with conference attendees having an average read time of 14 minutes. It was such a success they will be offering a guide at their upcoming conference as well. It is an active reminder of the professional resources their association provides and additional source of non-dues revenue. Learn more about digital recruitment guides.